It may only be October 15th but our skiMail INBOX was full overnight last night from those of you wanting to comment about all of the webcams that we’ve posted lately. For those unaware, visit www.HighCountryWebCams.com and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.
QUICK FALL COLOR UPDATE:
We’re at or just past peak Autumn color around the higher elevations of the mountains, but most of the area is just now getting to peak color. It’s been gloomy and cloudy of late and to get the most enjoyment from the patchwork of fall, we need some sunshine. According to the forecast we should see some mix of clouds and sun (and some snow showers) this weekend for the 32nd annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk. That should make for some near-perfect timing for those of you traveling to the mountain for this weekend.
We’re attempting to get another LIVE camera pointed at the festival so stay tuned and we’ll see what we can do.
NOW ON TO THE WINTER FORECAST!!!
Accuweather’s Chief Meteorologist, Joe Bastardi released his 2009-2010 Winter Forecast at 1pm or so on Wednesday and within about 5 minutes our INBOX started receiving emails from you guys wanting to make certain that we knew about it. If Joe’s forecast holds up – there will be a TON of smiles across the faces of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic’s ski and snowboarding fans.
Bastardi predicts the current El Niño will fade over the winter and will probably not have as much of a role in the overall weather pattern as one would think during a typical El Niño year. In July, Joe was the first to talk about how the fading El Niño will play a role in the winter forecast. This fading El Niño pattern will lead to a stormier and colder winter in the southern and eastern United States. While the El Niño is fading this winter, other factors are pointing to a winter very similar to that of 2002-2003.
He went on to say, "The areas that will be hit hardest this winter by cold, snowy weather will be from southern New England through the Appalachians and mid-Atlantic, including the Carolinas. Areas from Washington D.C. to Charlotte have had very little snowfall the past two winters. This season these areas could end up with above-normal snowfall."
While some parts of the Appalachians did have harsh winter weather in the form of ice last year, this winter could be one of the snowiest since 2002-2003, when up to 80 inches fell in many places. Snowfall totals this year could reach between 50 and 100 inches in the Appalachians.
THAT, my friends should bode well for the traditionally higher, snow-prone areas where the higher snowfall totals fall across the higher elevations (where our ski areas are located!)
He elaborated by forecasting ABOVE NORMAL precipitation along with the cold and snowy pattern for the Southeast and Mid Atlantic region. Bastardi went further to say that while portions of the west and midwest that have seen early, deep snow – they will see warmer and drier conditions that normal and not as cold nor as snowy for the winter. He forecasts that the Southeast and Mid Atlantic region should see temps averaging nearly 3° colder than normal!
We hope that our "brothers" out west have a great season, and they’ve certainly gotten off to a great start as Mammoth Resort opened this morning. That is the earliest start EVER for the California ski resort. As we reported yesterday, Sunday River in Maine opened Wednesday morning to become the first ski resort on the east coast to open for the season.
While we don’t wish for those guys to have a down season, we certainly hope that Joe Bastardi’s winter forecast is on the button!
We’re hoping to hear from Meteorologist Brad Panovich to get HIS 2009-2010 Winter Forecast and we sure hope that he agrees with Bastardi’s take on things!
Stay tuned and send your comments to: [email protected]
(Portions of this story came from Accuweather.com with permission requested and received)